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Inside Dave Van Ronk

4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 26, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

The essential work of this one-time Merchant Marine and king of the Greenwich Village folk scene, with two classic 1962 albums on one CD: Inside Dave Van Ronk and Folksinger . Tracks include the chilling Cocaine Blues; Talking Cancer Blues; Poor Lazarus , and more.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 26, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Prestige
  • ASIN: B000000XF7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,332 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joan May on April 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite folk/blues album, especially the first 13 tracks, originally released as "Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger" in the mid 60's (that title was deceptive as the album is mainly ballsy blues!). Van Ronk's raunchy vocals and incredible fingerpicking style guitar are unsurpassed. I wish he had made more bluesy albums like "Dave Van Ronk,Folksinger" and I still hold out hope that he'll do just that someday.
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Format: Audio CD
This album shows Dave Van Ronk at his best. His voice and his styling are perfect for performing these songs, ranging from light and playful to dark and brooding. I'm also a Jackson Browne fan, but I'd much rather hear Van Ronk perform "Cocaine" than Browne.
Especially in these days of overproduced music that still manages to sound redundant or derivative, Dave Van Ronk is "the real deal," to borrow Buddy Guy's signature phrase.
Van Ronk was an important influence on subsequent folk singers, and he deserves more recognition than he has received. Buy this album. You'll wonder how you lived without it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Dave Van Ronk is one of the last "authentic" voices in our musical history. Brilliant, anarchistic, and possibly the best male interpreter of songs in my generation. Everyone who plays guitar, likes the blues, likes guitar, plays the blues... everyone should hear this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Dave Van Ronk is probably the best "folk" guitarist/singer to come out of the folk revival of the 1960's. I dont think it would be worth it to compare him to Bob Dylan, because while Bob is a genius songwriter, he is not much of a guitarist and a mediocre singer. Dave Van Ronk is not known for writing songs, and this disk is almost entirely reworkings of older songs. However, at this Dave is amazing. His arrangements are impeccable, giving his dinstinct character to the songs. Cocaine blues, come back baby, stackerlee are a few of the best. I would agree with the other reviewer that the first twelve songs are the best, making up the original abum "dave Van Ronk: Folksinger." The rest of the songs are mainly irish and galic folk style, which may or may not be your thing. However, it is easily worth it for just the first twelve tracks, which alone are the best folk/country blues album to come from the folk revival, at least by a white person. This is a classic.
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Format: Audio CD
When I first heard folk music in my youth I felt unsure about whether I liked it or not. As least against my strong feelings about the Rolling Stones and my favorite blues artist such as Howlin' Wolf and Elmore James. Then on some late night radio folk show here in Boston I heard Dave Van Ronk doing "Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies" (which is included in this selection) and that was it. That old-time gravelly voice (even though I found out later that he was relatively young at that time) still commands my attention in the same way.

The last time I saw Dave Van Ronk perform, after not seeing him for a fairly long period of time, was not a particularly good night as he was pretty sick by that time. Moreover, his politics seemed to have crumbled over time from that of the hardened Trotskyist of his youth going out slay the benighted Stalinists for the soul of the working class. His dedication to leftist politics, as testified to by those who knew him well like Tom Paxton, was well known and passionate. A man who can write an intersting ditty about the notorious Moscow Lubyanka political prison is definitely a political man. Although no one asks a musical performer to wear politics on his or her sleeves as a litmus test, given his status as a prime historian/activist of the folk revival of the 1960's, this was disconcerting.

That folk scene, of which Dave was a central and guiding figure not fully recognized outside a small circle to this day, was not only defined by the search for root music and relevancy but by large political concerns such as civil rights, the struggle against war, and the need for social justice. Some of it obviously was motivated as well as simply a flat out need to make our own mark on the world.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is actually a double recording, including the original Dave Van Ronk recording, "DVR: Folksinger" and "Inside DVR." Both were recording when Van Ronk was at the height of his Greenwich Village fame and influence. Twenty-five tracks are presented on one disk, not a bad deal. The content, however, is what distinguishes this album. I bought it after watching "Inside Llewyn Davis," since that Coen Brothers film is allegedly loosely based on Dave's life. I was curious how faithful the actors of that film were to Dave Van Ronk's vocal style and music. Their fidelity is astounding, but then as I played and re-played this album, I was struck by the beauty, purity and power of Van Ronk's guitar and vocals. Many of the classic tunes I remember from the 60's are on this disc, such as "Cocaine," "You've Been a Good Old Wagon," and "He Was a Friend of Mine." Other classic folk songs which influenced the likes of Baez, early Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary demonstrate why so many people covered Dave's material. My own caveat is that the remastering was done quite a few years ago. I believe better digital sound would be possible now. Do not let that caveat prevent you from becoming acquainted or re-acquainted with a true American folk singer.
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